England Gets a Look at Itself, and Isn’t Sure It Likes What It Sees
The new prime minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, faces a tough task. The country is split between those who wish her to succeed and those who don’t. Most of the people who don’t are angry or frustrated with the prime minister for promising so much at the last election and then failing to deliver much of it. They want Brexit to go ahead and, if possible, to have a second referendum on the Brexit deal with which she is now trying to reach a compromise.
Some of those people are also concerned about the way Brexit is being handled and want something else: a second referendum. They are in part right to be concerned. May hasn’t been able to sell her deal, as far as I can tell. She has been caught lying, as I have documented, and has had her reputation tainted by her handling of the question of David Cameron’s future in Downing Street. Some of the criticism of the deal has been justified. What is much less clear is its general approval—or lack of it.
Let’s set a few things out.
The main problem with Brexit is a lack of detail and clarity.
Since the Brexit referendum, there has been much handwringing and wringing about what Brexit means. In particular, there has been lots of handwringing and wringing expressed over the lack of a plan. The problem is that the lack of detail and clarity is largely due to the way we define “plan”—a plan is a coherent idea. But any idea is subject to being changed, and the EU has the kind of flexibility that is impossible to predict.
The EU has a lot of flexibility
The EU has its own laws, but does not have international binding rules except in the areas of migration, standards of living, and international institutions. What the EU does have is the possibility of having two kinds of relationship with its member states: those where a country does what the EU asks it to, and those where it does what